Musician Builds Incredible Instrument Powered by 2,000 Marbles

In Autumn of 2014, Martin Molin, a member of the Swedish folktronica band Wintergatan, began working on an engineering feat of epic proportions. 14 months later, the first footage of his truly astonishing, handmade ‘marble machine’ has been released, capturing the attention of the world.


Built mainly from timber, the machine uses a hand crank, cogs, funnel routes, tracks, pulleys, percussion instruments, a vibraphone, the neck of a base guitar, and 2,000 marbles to churn out complex and layered dance music.

In the video below, watch Molin get the marbles moving by first turning the crank, and play the machine live with an air of delicate expertise, characteristic of an inventor who knows his machine inside and out.

In a recent update on the band’s website, Molin gave insight into the process which he initially scheduled to take 2 months to complete:

”The closer the machine gets to be finished the harder it gets to finish it. It is strange how that happens, when the finish line is in sight, everything slows down automatically except the avalanche of new unforeseen problems. We need to start making music now and spend less time picking up marbles from the floor. But it is happening. When it is finished, music will follow.”

It is not surprising that this incredible instrument took more than 6 times longer to complete than anticipated. Although manually operated it is completely programmable, and its key can be adjusted in the middle of a song.

Visit Wintergatan’s website to see an archive of footage from throughout the marble machine’s creation.


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